One of Facebook’s strangest effects is getting a sneak peek at people you haven’t seen in a very long time. Every now and again, this semi-voyeurism makes you stop in your tracks: what happened to her? We are always a bit shocked when the person that seems to have changed the most, is the person that we thought “had it all” back in the day. The prom queen. The rich kid with the great car. Most likely to succeed. Unfortunately, there is no average face for alcoholism. An aging face, though, is one of the many features of long-term drinking. It won’t kill you, but some of the other side-effects of drinking heavily will. Visible signs of drinking over time:
Invisible signs of long-term drinking: These are the more deadly long term health issues of alcoholism. You may not see them, but you need to fear them.
- Hangover—you know how you look under these conditions
- depression and anxiety (featured in your face and posture)
- brittle skin and nails
- dull and dehydrated skin
- weight gain in the belly, with wasting of the muscles in your legs
- heartburn and burping, because the muscles in your esophagus relax
- insomnia or poor sleep, so you never feel completely rested
- your memory starts to get worse, and worse, and worse
- Liver damage
- High blood pressure, that can lead to kidney damage (how do you feel about dialysis?)
- Cancer of the esophagus and liver
- Pancreatitis, which is very painful and repeatedly strikes back if you keep drinking
Another thing to take note about the prom queen? Many people drink to improve their self-esteem or control anxiety. Maybe she was just covering up how she felt a whole lot better than you realized.